4 Things You Should Ask God to Do in Your Small Group this Year
In Luke 11:9, Jesus makes a simple promise: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (NIV)
It seems funny to say it, but my research involving more than 4000 groups in over 300 churches revealed that what Jesus says is true! The small group leaders with the healthiest and fastest growing groups are those that consistently take time with God, asking him to work in their group members’ lives, in their group meetings, and in the lives of their unbelieving friends.
What should you ask for as a small group leader? Here’s four things I suggest you ask for as you enter this fall:
- Ask God for vision. On one level the vision of all small groups are the same, for people to experience Jesus in a life-changing way that impacts them and those around them. At the same time, every small group has a unique focus depending on who God is calling that small group to reach. Perhaps God is calling you to reach college students, or to have a multi-ethnic group, or a group for people in a certain zip code or stage of life. Ask God for his vision and direction for your group this year.
- Ask for a strong core. Vibrant small groups have a strong core. Notice that at the center of Jesus’ small group of twelve followers was a core of four—Jesus, Peter, James, and John. Likewise at the center of Paul’s ministry were comrades like Luke, Silas, Timothy, and Priscilla & Aquilla. Your core is the people most committed to your group, the stakeholders, the people that show up most consistently, the people that help make things happen. You get the idea. As you experience community and relationship with your core, the rest of the group is drawn into it. Your core also helps you carry the leadership and the responsibilities of ministry. They help your group go further faster. Maybe you already have a strong core. If you don’t, ask God for one.
- Ask God to do BIG, God-sized things. I don’t know about you but I want God to do miracles in peoples lives, to do things so amazing and huge that people absolutely know that God must be behind it all. Have you ever wondered when you read the book of Acts, why the early believers witnessed so many miracles? I think it was largely because they asked God to do miracles. Notice their prayer in Acts 4:30: “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Ask God to do BIG, amazing things in your small group this year.
- Ask for new people to come to Christ and into his family. I don’t know about you but I don’t want my group to be a bless-me group. But so easily groups can become self-centered. The first step in having a world-changing group is to pray that God’s life overflows from your group and that new people come to know Jesus and come into his family as a result of your group. This is my personal prayer but we are also going to continue to take time for that in our group meetings. (In my small group we use a “blessing list,” to take a few minutes to pray, right after our icebreaker time, for our “friends that need God.”)
What do you want God to do in your group this year? What are you asking him for? Jesus encourages you, “Ask and it will be given you.” Let’s ask him for big things this year!